By: Omar Silva, NP Staff Writer
Belize City, Wednesday, 19 April 2023
In a bid to improve connectivity to the region and boost tourism, the Department of Transport has announced the Cabinet's decision to approve the reintroduction of Fuente Del Norte and ADO bus services in Belize. These premier bus services were popular among both Belizeans and international visitors before the pandemic, providing them with convenient transportation options across the Guatemalan and Mexican border points.
Starting on April 21st, 2023, Fuente Del Norte will be providing services from Belize City to Flores and Guatemala City, while ADO will be providing services from Belize City to Merida and Cancun starting on May 1st, 2023. The reintroduction of these services is expected to provide economic and social gains for Belize.
However, the Ministry of Youth, Sports & Transport is committed to safeguarding the business of local bus operators, and as such, both Fuente Del Norte and ADO bus companies will be operating under strict conditions. To obtain a Road Service Permit to operate in Belize, international bus service providers must pay in full before commencing operation. A permit will be issued for every run per day, and failure to produce a Road Service Permit at a checkpoint can result in a fine being levied against the operator for the offense.
Additionally, operators crossing border points must have a manifest of passengers on board, and companies are not allowed to pick up local commuters en route to their final destination. Only ticketed passengers traveling to Mexico or Guatemala are allowed to be transported. ADO bus company has been given permission to commence services at the Belize City bus terminal, while Fuente Del Norte bus company will have designated stops in San Ignacio and Belize City outside of the department's terminal spaces.
Any contravention of these conditions carries a fine of $500 or immediate cancellation of the Road Service Permit. The Ministry of Youth, Sports & Transport is committed to ensuring that the bus companies comply with these conditions to avoid fines or cancellation of their permit.
The reintroduction of Fuente Del Norte and ADO bus services in Belize is expected to provide a boost to the country's tourism sector, benefiting both visitors and locals. It's crucial that the reintroduction of these services is done in a fair and regulated manner that benefits all stakeholders involved.